An independent’s illustration of effective marketing.
Amongst the seamlessly integrated independent outlets contained in Sheffield’s second high-street, Ecclesall Road, Craft & Dough stands on its own two feet. With a sister restaurant, The Milestone, located in Kelham Island, it boasts the inventive yet apparently obvious partnership of craft beer and artisan pizza. With an assortment of over 100 beers, sourced everywhere from Somerset to Japan, the overwhelming sense of choice rivals that of an excellent pub or bar, with the staff all being amiable and well informed to help selection.
On a Sunday evening, I was challenged with the task of finding a suitable place to eat for a group of six at peak time. On recommendation from a friend, Craft & Dough soon became the location of choice. Surprisingly, being so close to Sheffield Hallam’s Collegiate Campus, which I attend, it was unknown to me. At the same time, I am abundantly aware of the numerous pizzeria chains a further two minutes down the road, which I have yet to visit even once. This illustrates that independents might have a harder time attracting and retaining customers compared to their chain counterparts. Sharing the same street as large corporations and franchises, local businesses such as Craft & Dough have chosen their marketing strategies astutely.
Luckily for two fellow course friends who chose this restaurant for lunch, they benefited from the business’ publicising techniques, which rely heavily on social media and word of mouth recommendation. This technique includes frequent customer testimonials and offers on both their Instagram and Twitter accounts, which have a combined total number of followers of over 2,700. After finishing their lunch (pictured last), they were told it was on the house, for no reason other than an act of goodwill on behalf of the restaurant. This then led to their gleaming recommendation of the place, as well a contribution to the company’s social media presence, which was eventually instilled in to me.
The menu is simple and modern, with plenty of choice for starters and sides. I chose the Bakery Focaccia with locally sourced pesto (Furnace Hill) as a side, and managed to share with four others, surprising given that it was only £1.50. As a main I had the Margherita, certainly one of the best pizzas I have eaten for under £5. But Craft & Dough does have innovative pizzas too. A friend chose the Tandoori Chicken Breast, which was as it sounds, but with the added delight of Bombay mix sprinkled on top, although not to everyone’s taste. The atmosphere inside definitely enhanced the experience. It was relaxed yet vibrant, something rarely witnessed at large pizzeria chains.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Craft & Dough, not just with their selection of beer and unique spin on customary unoriginal pizza toppings, but with their subtle yet evidently effective methods of advertising their business. Their website is clean and informative, whilst providing an endless stream of social media recommendations, all testament to the restaurant’s quality. Such a business sets the standard very high for all competition and it truly demonstrates how independent traders can continue to thrive and compete alongside large chains without the need of multi-million pound marketing budgets.
Words: Alex Townsend.
Images courtesy of Flickr user Kate Maxwell & Instagram user tahiraxo_.